Artists: Elmer Guevara & Robert Nehemiah Sanchez
Media: Paints (Arcylic, Oil), Canvas, Cardboard, Tarp, Metal, Wood
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Gatov West
Website: Currently no website.
Instagram: Elmer-@3lmski1 Robert- @wookieewarrior
About the Artists
Elmer and Robert are both undergraduate students working towards their BFA degrees in the School of Art’s Drawing and Painting Program. Elmer has always been drawn to art at a young age and he began working with graffiti art. Meanwhile, Robert was working towards becoming a firefighter but realized that his passion was to creating art. Elmer and Robert are both transferred students; Elmer transferred from East Los Angeles College and Robert transferred from Rio Hondo College. They decided to work together because they found similarities in their work and created a unique exhibition called Immaterials.
In this exhibition both artist use oil to paint their portraits. Robert uses different material like cardboard, tarp, and wood to paint the people that have influence and matter in his life. Unlike Robert, Elmer uses canvases to paint his portraits. They both paint people the differences between the two artist is that Robert paints people who have inspired him in his life, for example he painted his mother, grandmother, and his mentor. Robert’s paintings look antique and the shadows are heightened in each individuals portrait. The shadows on the grandma, mother, and mentor create a 3-D image making it look very realistic. He chose neutral colors that would compliment the materials, there are not too many vibrant colors used to paint each person. Elmer painted people who are currently homeless and living in the streets of LA. He interview them and took several photographs of them and painted a collage of the photographs. Elmer used all kinds of colors in each painting. He uses the same colors that were taken in the photo to replicate it, but he uses the collages to give different perspectives and used straight and jagged lines to create an illusion as if the person was moving in slow motion. It also reminds me of the art style cubism because the painting are distorted but we are still able to depict the person and their environment.
Elmer was born and raised in Los Angeles and he was inspired to make visible the people who are often ignored in society which are the homeless. Each person in Elmer’s portrait was interviewed and then were taken several photographs. Elmer then made a collage of those images to create this unique form of art. In each portrait Elmer adds the street names of where he met each person and also paints the objects/animal that represent the persons interest and their story. Robert was inspired to use materials that were thrown away or not of use anymore. As he kept exploring with the materials, he found that the person being painted on reflected them in some way. For example, he painted his grandmother on a torn piece of cardboard, he explains that the cardboard can be durable, but at the same time it is a fragile material that can eventually deteriorate. This reminded him that just like the materials he used, his loved ones will also be gone one day. He also spoke about how he is trying to stay away from being materialistic. His way of trying is shown through his artwork and he aspires everyday to become less accustomed to the materialistic world we live in.
Synthesis /My Experience
I chose to write about this exhibition because I felt that I related to the artist in which that I also was raised in Los Angeles. I remember driving by the streets and freeways that he painted about, my family and I would always drive around those areas. I also remember seeing many homeless people in LA. I would see how everyone’s first reaction to the homeless was to either stay away or ignore them. I see how they are considered the invisible group in society. I thought it was great how Elmer gave them a voice and shared a little about each person’s life. Elmer didn’t only chose to paint them, but he also took the time to get to know each individual on a more personal level. I liked that Robert chose to paint the people that he loves and have influenced him to become the person he is today. I thought it was unique how the materials depicted the person’s personality. Each material represented and reflected their character. I also like the name they gave their exhibition, Immaterials. As Robert mentions it represents giving meaning and life to the people and materials that are often ignored or overlooked. The word immaterials reminded me of the word immortals. The irony though is that we are mortal being and as much as we don’t want our loved ones to go, it is a part of life. The beauty of life is that we don’t live forever, but we are on earth for a purpose and we have to find that purpose! Their exhibition documents the people and everything that has surrounded them in their lives. Each artwork represent a piece of them and the reality of life.